By Beth Ann Olesen
I recently went on a safari. Sure, the vines were made out of paper, the savanna was the halls of New Life, and the wildlife were the 75 three- to six-year-olds that attended, but it was a safari nonetheless.
This year I was tasked with teaching the daily Bible lesson at New Life’s annual Cubs in Motion camp, which is no small thing. While I prayed, prepped, and Amazon Primed my way through the planning, I was often taken aback by the responsibility I had been given. Some of these little ears would be hearing of God’s provision and protection for the very first time. It was humbling, to say the least.
On Thursday, the lesson was on God as our loving Savior. I struggled with this lesson the most. How do I get these tiny humans to understand the magnitude of God’s sacrifice and love? To know what this ultimate act means for their lives?
As Thursday morning approached, I could feel my stomach begin to tighten. I was praying, pacing, and fidgeting myself into a frenzy. I shared my nerves with a fellow Cubs in Motion volunteer, who provided me with this beautiful and gentle reminder that became my mantra throughout the morning: We are planting seeds. We are planting seeds.
I felt physical relief in the moments that followed. It didn’t matter what I said. It didn’t matter if all kids were engaged and listening at all times. What mattered is my being a vessel of God, of Him using me to whisper to the hearts of those children.
During my fourth time teaching the lesson, a spirited, red-headed little boy was on the edge of his seat. As I removed the boulder from the front of the tomb, the little boy pushed back on his heels and sat up on his knees. “WHAT?!?!” he exclaimed. And as I removed Jesus from the tomb and put Him behind my back, explaining that the tomb was empty and Jesus was gone, he began practically shouting as he bounced up on his toes. “WHAT?!?!? Where did He go?!?”
I may never know if this little boy, who was obviously hearing the story of Jesus’ victory over sin and death for the first time, heard more. I may never know if he accepts Christ as his personal Savior. In fact, I may never even see that little boy again.
But here’s what I do know. I know I will never forget that little boy. I know that God used me to plant a seed in his heart. And I know that when I am weak, speechless, afraid, and unsure, God is strong. His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
My experience at Cubs in Motion this year has challenged me to keep my eyes and ears open for ways to plant seeds, to remind myself that I don’t need to share the Gospel with a person in order to demonstrate God’s love, grace, and mercy, that these opportunities will be found in places unexpected, and maybe even unwelcome. After all: “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow” (1 Corinthians 3:7).